Take Your Hands off the Wheel?

Feb 20, 2011

By Lisa T. Bergren

Recently, we toured the aircraft carrier USS Midway in San Diego and when we were up top, in the “island,” walking the bridge, I discovered something interesting. All my life, I’ve heard this about submission: That we’re to take our hands off the wheel and let God drive. I understood it.

Trying to control my life: Bad. Letting God control my life: Good. But try as I might, I couldn’t quite pry my hands All The Way Off, even as I ventured into my most recent chapter of trying to submit to my Lord and Savior, more and more, and feeling more confident in both my maturity of faith AND my God. But still…

Now fast forward with me. On the USS Midway, on the bridge, the captain sat in one chair, and our tour guide said he said very little, just observed all that was going on and made sure things were in order. In the center was the commander, the guy in charge, by and large, and he had to have eye-to-eye contact with the navigator, so they could communicate without hindrance. So those three were in front —Captain, Commander, and Navigator.

Behind them, through a row of portholes, was the helm—the steering wheel—and the helmsman, the guy at the wheel. That guy could never see where he was going, and could only get peekaboo views of the three dudes up front. He could barely catch a glimpse of blue ocean. And yet he was steering a thousand-foot-long, 69,000 ton ship with up to 4500 men aboard. Instead, he did his best to listen carefully, to try and catch what the threesome up front were saying and then respond immediately when a command was issued.

But this was the monumental thing for me: The helmsman kept his hands on the wheel.

I think this is a better model for what I’m after in submission. To not let go of the wheel (which seems a little dangerous and crazy…okay, a LOT dangerous and crazy), but to better respond to the Threesome up front. To be able to hear whispers of conversation and direction and then, when my Commander issues a direct order, to be right on it. With Him, on it, almost from the beginning. To so follow His body language and tone of voice, that I can almost anticipate what He might say. And yeah, keep my hands on the wheel.

So…thoughts? What do you think? Have you embraced the whole “Take Your Hands Off” concept? Or does this appeal? Or are you somewhere in between? Please comment.